The yachting lifestyle offers unparalleled escape from crowds and access to obscure destinations, but often at a tradeoff for other creature comforts. After several days of confinement in close quarters, dining on whatever the ship’s kitchen can offer, and becoming over-familiar with the limited recreation the ship can provide, just about everyone craves a stretch on dry land. In coastal or island destinations, “yachties” are a familiar niche of traveler, and many of the finer private hotels encourage them to dock at the resort marina and avail themselves of guest facilities.
The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort — Bora Bora
A room at the luxurious St. Regis Bora Bora Resort can easily cost upward of $600 a night, but a yacht slip is free of charge. Not only that, but yachties get complimentary access to communal facilities including the property's tennis courts and pool.
Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina — New York
In summer, yacht owners can participate in the Hamptons' social scene without being squeezed into a share rental or paying high season rates for a hotel. It's a best-of-both-worlds situation when they dock at Montauk Yacht Club. Travelers get full run of communal facilities including a private beach, all pools (indoor and outdoor), tennis courts and a fitness center with sauna. They can also use the property's Wi-Fi, cable TV and laundry and shower facilities in the marina.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection — BVI
Access to Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, Autograph Collection and its on-island amenities are available without a resort fee to those with yachts that pay the dockage rate. In addition to beach and multi-level pool access, owners can also partake in the resort-wide Wi-Fi and take a trip to the fitness center, this also includes use of the water trampoline and paddleboards. Dockage rates now through October 31 are $2.50 per foot for boats over 50 feet and $2.25 per foot for boats under 50 feet. For the 2014/2015 high season, boats over 50 feet pay $3.25 per foot; boats under 50 feet pay $3 per foot.
Ciragan Palace Kempinski Istanbul — Turkey
With many of Istanbul’s most glamorous venues built along the shore of the Bosphorus, it makes sense that marina facilities would need to be world-class. Ciragan Palace Kempinski, a resort in a former Ottoman palace, is distinguished by over-the-top services to match its sumptuous setting. Its signature yacht service is a fully catered Champagne dinner for two. It also provides bottle service, sunset date romance offering, and staffs/caters private parties onboard docked yachts at their marina.
Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas — Bahamas
A resort the size of a small town and with 63 slips in the marina that can accommodate mega-yachts, Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas is on par with the best marinas in the world and offers services specialized for its elite guests. Marina guests can get room service delivered to their vessel, have access to laundry and dry cleaning services, golf cart assistance on the dock for provisions transfer and much more. For guests who want to visit hotel restaurants or the casino, transportation is provided.
The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey — California
The only hotel actually on the marina in Marina del Rey (AKA, the busiest yacht hub in Los Angeles), The Ritz-Carlton is equally popular with boat-up passengers, locals who drive to this South Bay spot for scenic Happy Hour drinks, and out-of-towners staying at the hotel. Yacht slip renters get free Wi-Fi. Of the rest of the communal spaces, the popular Cast & Plow restaurant is open to one and all, while the fitness center and bike rentals are for hotel guests only.
El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort — Puerto Rico
People who rent one of the 35 yacht slips at El Conquistador's private marina get complimentary access to the resort’s exclusive Palomino Island offering white sand beaches, horseback riding and more. Other perks include free parking and access to the fitness center, plus preferred tee times at the resort’s golf course. Marina slips can accommodate boats size 30-65 feet.
Staniel Cay Yacht Club — Bahamas
Originally built as a marina and yacht club, Staniel Cay became a hotel after evolving to service yachties. At the Yacht Club, your boat slip is a mere 15-second walk from the restaurant/bar. Most of the resort activities center around the water such as boating, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Nearby boat-up landmarks include Thunderball Grotto and the swimming pigs on Big Major Cay. This is one of the Bahamas’ most beloved resorts, and sure to be better after a full restaurant rebuild come autumn 2014. (Note: The hotel and restaurant will be closed during remodel.)
Kona Kai Resort & Marina — California
Kona Kai is definitely the hotel for yachties visiting San Diego. It is closest to the open ocean, on a tiny curlicue of land called Shelter Island with 520 boat slips that can accommodate vessels from sailboats up to 250-foot motor yachts. Marina guests get complimentary access to the fitness club, hotel pool, private beach and parking. They also get discounts at the restaurant, on guest rooms if they decide to sleep on land for a change, and on car rentals through a hotel partner. Free Wi-Fi is available resort-wide.
Toscana Resort Castelfalfi — Italy
It’s has the best of two eras of royal treatment at Toscana Resort Castelfalfi in a former Medici villa. Through a partnership with neighboring Marina di Scarlino (owned by Leonardo Ferragamo), hotel guests can access the marina beach club and get discounts at the marina spa and restaurant. Hotel perks for slip rentals are still TBD since this partnership is brand new, but this is still one for our boat-up bucket list.
Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)